Employee Engagement

The Full Guide to a Great March Madness Company Event


For many college basketball fans March is the best month of the year, and recently businesses have been trying their best to get in on the action. Here at Hoopla, we love when companies enhance their culture with special events, and think that March Madness is a perfect theme to craft a great event to increase performance in a fun way. Here are some resources to put together an amazing March Madness company event!

March Madness Brackets

One of the best ways to get March Madness kickstarted is to let employees create brackets to predict which teams will move forward and which will lose. Predicting the results of a bracket perfectly are incredibly hard to do, in fact you only have a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance, but it’s still a great way to get an event started quickly. Brackets can be created super fast, only requiring a pen, paper and time, or you can print them out directly from the NCAA.

March Madness KPI Contests

Another way to go mad in March is to set up contests based around key metrics in your office. Looking for a way to increase sales or service productivity? Setting up a tournament comparing members of your team in key metrics can drive performance. Here are some tips to keep things running smoothly all month:

Setting Up the Tournament

Make sure you manually set up brackets for your team, and don’t let it be random. Depending on the size of your team you’ll want to either break things up into multiple smaller tournaments to ensure each round is competitive and everyone feels like they have a chance to win.

You can manually create the tournament, tracking each KPI by hand every day, notifying each winner. But by leveraging a gamification tool like Hoopla, you can make it easy to track KPIs and exactly who wins and loses, without doing too much extra manual work. Hoopla’s content can also be customized, so you can create a channel themed around March Madness.

Much like the actual March Madness, make sure each round has a set end date. Also ensure that your tournament is leading to a final day that will celebrate the entire team, as well as the winners. This day should be framed as a company lunch or party, and can be a set time, or something that happens in the background all day, with a set time for awards. The key here is to celebrate the entire team, and not just the winners. Check out more info on setting up your tournament.

The March Madness Company Event Finale

Since March Madness lasts through the end of the month of March (and into April) it’s good to set a date for a big event at your office. This is the capstone party, celebrating everyone who participated, and ensuring that all employees feel good after the event is over. There are a few things that are pretty much mandatory for the finale: some snacks or food and awards for the winners. And if you want to go all out, some decorations and prizes would be well received as well. Below we’ve compiled a few resources to help make your March Madness party amazing.

March Madness Eats

Depending on your contest or competition will depend on how involved you want to get with the food. Aside from staples like ordering pizza for the office or getting your favorite food delivery place involved, you might also want to think of some fun themed snacks that can keep the party going throughout the day. Here are a few lists of ideas and recipes that will take your March Madness celebration to the next level:

March Madness Decorations

We aren’t going to take time to link March Madness office party pictures throughout the rest of the blog post, but if you’re looking to stick with the theme and make the final day a huge deal then you’ll need decorations. There are so many different potentials out there, from basic basketball cut outs, to full themed basketball party sets. and don’t forget to check out the official merchandise from your favorite teams on the official NCAA store as there are plenty of home and office items that could be used for awesome accent decorations. 

March Madness Awards

The awards and rewards for the end of your March Madness company event should be well thought out. In fact, one of the first things you should do is meet with participants and have a brainstorming session on what sort of prizes should be given out (if any). This will give you a great idea on what sorts of things will truly motivate your team, and will get your team’s buy in on the event. You might also want to consider holding a raffle to spread the prizes around a bit, and celebrate the entire team’s effort in this contest.  In case you were looking for a place to start the brainstorming of awards and prizes, we’ve got a few ideas down below:

  • Ribbons or Trophies for Winners
  • Official NCAA Merch from the winners favorite team (even if they aren’t in the final 4)
  • Custom Printed Basketball or Basketball Jersey  for Overall Winners
  • Tickets to the Final Four/ Championship
  • Extra Vacation Days

The Final Word

If you are looking to inject a bit of competition and a lot of hype into your organization in the first quarter – go for a March Madness Company Event. Make sure you go all in – just like the athletes – and you’ll score a winning culture. [[This post was updated for 2020]]